The Virus Clips Air Asia's Wings
Bloomberg Businessweek|April 20, 2020
The region’s premier discount carrier may have to lower its ambitions
Kyunghee Park, with Siddharth Philip, Will Davies, Yvonne Man, and Haslinda Amin

In 2001, when Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes introduced Asia’s first low-cost airline, AirAsia, by purchasing a failing two-plane carrier for less than $1, it was the perfect time and place. The region’s economic ascent was raising millions of families each year into a new middle class that was eager to travel. Governments from Malaysia to China were building modern international terminals and more runways and often welcomed upstarts to help draw business travelers and tourists. And in most of Southeast Asia—a group of 11 countries with 25,000 islands spread over an area larger than NorthAmerica—air travel was the easiest and often the only way to get around.

Other entrepreneurs followed, and by 2018 lowcost airlines had half of the region’s rapidly expanding market. Before the coronavirus pandemic, AirAsia was serving 159 cities, and the International Air Transport Association estimated the number of passengers in the Asia-Pacific region for all carriers would more than double by 2037, to 3.9 billion.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEKView All

Biden's Year 2 Test

As the pandemic wears on and prices rise, many Americans are disillusioned with the president. Can he win them back?

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
January 24, 2022

A Fight Over Discrimination in the Age of Algorithms

Redfin has staked its reputation on making a racist industry more equitable. Critics say it’s been denying services to Black homebuyers and sellers

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
January 24, 2022

The lost girls of covid

For 25 years, girls in developing countries have been on a remarkable trajectory of progress. The pandemic is reversing it

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
January 10, 2022

Keeping Covid Out of The Cabin

As the pandemic enters Year 3, airlines are stepping up their hygiene routines

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
January 24, 2022

Ola's Scooter Factory Isn't Making Many Scooters

Trouble at such a high-profile project is a bad sign for India’s electric vehicle industry

3 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
December 27, 2021 - January 03, 2022 (Double Spread)

The New Web Vs. the Old Web

Meet Web3, which could replace the Big Tech powers, or be co-opted by them

5 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
January 17, 2022

The Fed's Mind Control

The idea that monetary policy shapes inflation expectations is about to get road-tested

5 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
January 24, 2022

Sheltered Paradise

With spectacular beaches, top-tier resorts, and a stellar Covid record, Anguilla is growing even more irresistible.

6 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
January 24, 2022

Same City - Different Games

What’s changed since Beijing last held the Olympics? Almost everything

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
January 24, 2022

Boxed In on China

Biden’s inability to extract concessions from Beijing is a liability going into November’s midterms

5 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
January 24, 2022
RELATED STORIES

SURGING NATURAL GAS PRICES: THREAT TO CONSUMERS THIS WINTER?

Brace for a rude surprise on your winter heating bills.

5 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #518

THE GREAT ESCAPE!

Hero dad dives into flames to save twin girls

2 mins read
National Enquirer
September 27, 2021

Do We Really Need New Anti-Asian Hate Crime Laws?

A holistic look at the data shatters the narrative about bias-based violence.

10+ mins read
Reason magazine
October 2021

Bangkok to Bali and Beyond

Sail to the cultural wonders of Southeast Asia.

4 mins read
Global Traveler
August 2021

“Made In Chinatown” Finding Love, Culture And Heritage

Question: What’s crazier than sending your horse to audition for The Godfather, wackier than two parrots saying, “Are you talking to me?” and wilder than the Scarecrow introducing Toto to the Wizard of Oz by stating, “Say hello to my little friend,” and thereafter referring to himself as the Scar-crow?

6 mins read
Black Belt
August/September 2021

CHER'S SINGING IS ELE-PHANTASTIC!

Special recordings bringing peace to pachyderms

1 min read
Globe
August 23, 2021

Anthony Veasna – Infinite Self

Anthony Veasna so died unexpectedly last winter, before his debut short-story collection, Afterparties, was released. Everyone remembers him differently.

10+ mins read
New York magazine
August 2 - 15, 2021

Andrew Yang's Insider Campaign

How did a former CEO of 100 employees become the front-runner to govern a city of 8.5 million? Not simply by being a national celebrity and an excellent campaigner.

10+ mins read
New York magazine
May 10 - 23, 2021

GROUPS: CENSUS PRIVACY TOOL COULD HURT VOTING RIGHTS GOALS

The findings reinforce concerns that differential privacy will lower the quality of the data used for redrawing congressional and legislative districts. They also suggest that the census figures won’t support efforts to protect the power of minority voters and comply with court rulings requiring districts to have equal population numbers.

3 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #493

43 Minutes With... Happy

Meditations on loneliness with a 50-year-old Elephas maximus.

6 mins read
New York magazine
March 15 - 28, 2021